Updated: Oct 2, 2020
Micro-needling is a dermaroller procedure that uses small needles to prick the skin.
The purpose of treatment is to generate new collagen and skin tissue for smoother, firmer, more toned skin.
Micro-needling is mostly used on the face and may treat various scars, wrinkles, and large pores.
Micro-needling is minimally invasive, requiring no downtime.
It’s considered safe for most people who are in overall good health.
The procedure isn’t safe for people who use certain acne medications or for women who are pregnant.
You’ll experience minor redness and irritation for a few days after the procedure.
Total prep and procedure time is about two hours.
You may need at least four procedures or more for the best results.
Micro-needling It’s not covered by insurance.
The overall costs depend on the size of the area being worked on.
It’s considered effective in treating minor scarring related to acne, wounds, and aging. You’ll likely notice brighter, firmer skin, too.
Ideal results are achieved after multiple sessions.
Micro-needling is far more effective than at-home rollers.
What is micro-needling?
Micro-needling is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that’s used to treat skin concerns via collagen production. Also known as collagen induction therapy, this treatment may help those looking to reduce the appearance of acne scars and stretch marks.
It’s also used in certain anti-aging procedures, such as eyelid surgery and sun spots. Micro-needling isn’t effective for hair loss, despite the possible role of collagen in hair growth.
You may be an ideal candidate for this procedure if you’re in good health and have certain skin concerns that haven’t responded to home treatments or other types of dermatologic procedures, such as peels.
This may also be a final step before considering cosmetic surgery for anti-aging and other concerns. Learn more about micro-needling and talk to your dermatologist to see if this is the right option for your skin.
How does micro-needling work?
Micro-needling works by encouraging your skin to make more collagen. The idea is that pinpricks from the procedure cause slight injury to the skin and that the skin responds by making new collagen-rich tissue.
This new skin tissue is, in turn, more even in tone and texture. It’s normal for the skin to lose collagen via age or injury. By encouraging the skin to make new tissue, there may be more collagen to help make the skin firmer, too.
Procedure for micro-needling
During the procedure, your provider makes small pricks under the skin with a pen-like tool. The pinpricks are so small that you likely won’t notice them after the procedure. Your provider will move the tool evenly across your skin so that the new skin that rejuvenates will be even, too.
Before getting started, your provider will use a topical anesthetic to reduce the chances of pain. This is done about an hour before your treatment. Your provider may then apply a serum or calming treatment. In total, you can expect to be at the office for a couple of hours at least.
Targeted areas for micro-needling
Micro-needling is most often used on your face to target:
age spots (also called “sun spots”)
fine lines and wrinkles
reduced skin elasticity
uneven skin tone
In addition to facial concerns, micro-needling is sometimes used to treat stretch marks in other areas of the body. One study Trusted Source found that micro-needling was effective for stretch marks on the thighs and abdominal area when combined with fillers. Scarring on other body parts may also be treated with this procedure. However, micro-needling is primarily used on the face.
Are there any risks or side effects?
Like all cosmetic procedures, micro-needling isn’t without risk. The most common side effect is minor skin irritation immediately following the procedure. You may also see redness for a few days. Call your doctor if you notice more severe side effects, such as:
You may not be an ideal candidate for micro-needling if you:
have open wounds
have had radiation therapy recently
have a history of skin scars
What to expect after micro-needling
Micro-needling isn’t invasive like plastic surgery, so the recovery time is minimal. According to Emory University, most people require very little downtime, if any at all. You may notice skin irritation and redness within the first few days following the procedure. This is a natural response to the small “injuries” made by the needles in your skin.
You can go back to work or school after the procedure if you’re comfortable. Some people apply camouflaging makeup during the first few days as the redness dissipates. Your skin will also be more sensitive to the sun, so sunscreen is a must.
After micro-needling, your skin works fairly quickly to rejuvenate new tissue. In theory, you should see results within a couple of weeks. To maintain the results of your treatment, you’ll need multiple sessions and perhaps other complementing treatments. Your provider will advise you on the best plan of action based on your individual goals.
Preparing for micro-needling
Before the procedure, talk to your provider about ways you can prepare so you have the best possible outcome. You may need to stop taking certain medications, such as ibuprofen and those for acne treatment, well in advance of the procedure. Your provider may also recommend that you stop using topical retinoids beforehand too. Doing so may reduce the risk of certain side effects.
Micro-needling vs. Home Rollers
In an effort to save money, some people opt for home rollers instead. Unlike professional micro-needling, rollers don’t puncture the skin hardly at all. While this might seem a less painful option, the problem is that you won’t achieve the same results. The punctures made during professional micro-needling are designed to induce skin rejuvenation. With a roller device, you may achieve brighter skin at best, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
If you’re interested in more dramatic, long-term results, micro-needling is a better option than a store-bought roller device. You may still choose to try the latter version if you want less invasive (and more temporary) results.